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Classical 101

A Dress Rehearsal For The Early Interval’s Virtual Concert ‘Presto Barocco’

The Early Interval in rehearsal. Four musicians with their instruments, reading music on a stage.
Hambrick, Jennifer M.
The Early Interval in rehearsal.

It’s been a year of canceled concerts, scratched plans, and vanished dreams for The Early Interval, Columbus’ resident early music ensemble.

But despite the ongoing pandemic, the group is managing to keep performing in virtual concerts, including one this week.

The Early Interval performs Presto Barocco, an online concert of Italian music of the early Baroque era, available Friday, April 16 at 8 p.m. until Monday, April 19 at 11:59 p.m. Those who purchase a ticket will receive a link to access the pre-recorded performance on demand from April 16-19.

A Dress Rehearsal With The Early Interval

The originally scheduled March 2020 performance of Presto Barocco was canceled shortly after the U.S. went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. That performance was to have taken place on the 40th-anniversary season of Early Music in Columbus, the concert series on which The Early Interval regularly performs.

“It was a big celebration year, and we were going to be hosting kind of an open mic with local amateur early music groups. That was all set up and ready to go, and that was to have been in March, which is Early Music Month, and it just didn’t happen,” said The Early Interval’s Creative Director, Jim Bates.

The pandemic also caused The Early Interval to scrap its plans to perform on a concert series outside Columbus.

But thanks to recording technology and the Internet, in January 2021 The Early Interval was able to present its annual Twelfth Night concert virtually, though with a lot of changes to the original plan.

As you can see in this video from the dress rehearsal for Presto Barocco, the musicians also had to devise unique plans – including rehearsing with some musicians in separate rooms and substantially changing the concert repertoire – in order to pull off this virtual performance safely.

As more people receive the coronavirus vaccine, there are glimmers of hope that someday in the not-too-distant future, the world will be able to return safely to in-person concerts.

In the meantime, Bates says The Early Interval will keep planning concerts and performing them however circumstances require.

“We’re going to envision some new programs that we’re going to put together,” Bates said. “How those end up getting presented, and will we be able to play on a concert series out of town in October? Are audiences going to be willing to come back to live performances? We don’t know.”

Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.